Leaders, my clients, often describe a common problem scenario they want help with that begins with “I’ve got this guy…”. The gist of each of these conversations is pretty much the same. There’s someone on their team who is a highly talented person and they don’t want to lose him or her. So what’s the problem?
The real problem is with people. “That guy”, although smart and usually successful in many ways, lacks what we call Relational Competency or E.Q.
So what do we do with “that guy” to help him with his lack of self-awareness and relational skills? First, we have to help him understand why he needs to have Relational Competency; so we start with the data. We present research like the latest 45 year study done in New Zealand which showed that the highest predictor of financial success was not I.Q. nor was it how wealthy of a family you came from; the number one predictor of financial success was, you guessed it, E.Q.
In the executive coaching world – we teach that you must have both Technical Competency + Relational Competency to be successful in all ways; your performance, personally and with people. Dr. Townsend refers to them as the 3 P’s.
The father of emotional intelligence, Dan Goleman, puts it like this: “…there’s self-awareness, focusing inside. Half of emotional intelligence is about that. Then there’s empathy, focusing on the other person… That’s the other half of emotional intelligence. Then there’s a third kind of focus…It’s a focus on systems, on the larger context in which an organisation operates, changes in technology and the economy, cultural trends etc. and sensing them in order to determine what strategy to follow… You need all three of those levels of mindfulness to be successful.”
Understanding this intellectually is the easy part. The more challenging part is what we call “experience”. “That guy” has to be in a relationship where he begins to get the experiences required for developing E.Q.; i.e. self-awareness and empathy cannot be attained in isolation. These skills must be learned in the right kinds of relationships. Coaching and group coaching are two excellent resources for this type of development.
The number one technical skill of highly successful people is relational competency. It reminds me of this verse: The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, gain understanding. Proverbs 4:7. Growing Relational Competency is wisdom.